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New Approaches to Developing Cancer Drugs

The latest statistics make alarming reading: in the developed world one in three people will suffer from cancer and one in four will die from the disease. Due to an ageing population the worldwide incidence of cancer is predicted to double from 10 to 20 million by 2020 (WHO). Traditional approaches to cancer treatment rely on a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Current cancer drugs, which are mostly lethal for cells (cytotoxic), either affect DNA synthesis and the process of cell division or they react chemically with DNA to cause chromosomal damage.

These drugs have major limitations as they damage all proliferating cells and therefore produce considerable side effects. Drug resistance is another serious problem. Hence there is a major unmet need for more systematic but innovative and effective therapies for cancer treatment, especially for targeting early stages of the disease or later stage metastatic disease.


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By Gijsbertus J Pronk PhD, Senior Director, US Business Development at atugen AG

Gijsbertus J Pronk, PhD, is Senior Director in charge of US business development for atugen AG, Germany. Bert joined atugen, USA Inc in 2000 as Director of Research having formerly been Senior Scientist for Target Development with Chiron Corporation. Previously he held various research posts including a post-doctoral assignment in the laboratory of Dr Lewis T Williams at the Cardio-Vascular Research Institute (CVRI) at UC-San Francisco, where he studied programmed cell death (apoptosis).

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